14 February, 2014

Valentine's Day

The men in my office outwardly provide editorial commentary about Valentine's day. Coming from their vastly different experiences, I just smile and remind them that, while they might find it bothersome, it is something fun to a fourteen year old girl. It doesn't matter that the day is something celebrated in fun in my house or that I have done nothing to encourage the fantasy like quality that the day sometimes embraces; it is simply that I have a fourteen year old daughter. It seems that there is a romantic "fun" that comes in to play on Valentine's day. I gently focus on the fun and down play the romance and the expectation - then stand back and watch her enjoy it all.
This year she was excited, ready to throw herself into the fun of it. Which she did with gusto.
Then it snowed.
It snowed enough that she has spent the last two days at home.
While we do have fun on Valentine's day, spending the day with your mom and grandmother just aren't the same as a day spent with friends and peers adorned with hearts and sparkles and with an abidance of chocolate. Home sadly wilts in comparison.
Taking after her English relatives, she has adopted a "stiff upper lip" with the hope that they will simply postpone the celebration of love until Monday - when, unlike so much of the area, they will be at school, not enjoying a holiday, as there has been just a tad more snow and ice than the schools anticipated.
Tonight she will put on her pink, spend the evening dancing, and fall asleep dreaming of magic.
Isn't that the way we all want to end a Valentine's day?

21 January, 2014

For Serious?

A month ago I was enjoying warm weather and sun. Today I am bundled in coat, sweatshirt, ear muffs, and pretending that the wind is not freezing my face and lungs. The sun and warmth feels so distant; like a memory that may or may not have happened at some point in my life. I shiver and huddle into my coat that much more. The sun is rising a little earlier each day and setting a little later and next month I will return to my window seat to enjoy it. The days of seeing little to no sun will come to an end; everything will adjust once again.

A woman behind me loudly states, "For serious."
How my life reflects this idea of late.

For serious, a month ago I was in shorts and tanks while my daughter swam daily in an outdoor pool.
For serious I am now freezing and giving thanks for every day that doesn't involve my having to walk in or on ice.
For serious, I spend days working without seeing the sun and then elect to freeze outside just to relish its color and warmth before it dips below the horizon.
For serious, I find the English language one of particulars and refinement and flexibility. A language that can adapt itself to capture and describe just about anything… and yet when it falls short, it it feels like a betrayal
. I am not sure how it is that a living language, continually meeting the demands of an innovative culture, can also be limiting in its ability to deftly
communicate the nuances of emotion or the intricacies of art or beauty. Is it possible that the culture is reducing language to communicate minimally - or to fit on the screens of mobile devices?
For serious I read that the Russian language has many words to describe the color blue that we, in English, call either "dark blue" or "light blue" just as other cultures and languages have several words for "snow" or "love."
For serious, there are times when I feel like I am living in an episode of "friends." have you noticed that, while personalities don't line up exactly, you know a Chandler, A Ross, or a Joey? You might work with Rachel or are friends with Monica? And your life is that much richer with your own Phoebe. Sometimes our own realities aren't that far removed from this or that television series. "George" of "Seinfeld" fame spent an episode in which he did the exactly opposite of everything he would normally do in regard to women - How often I would like to suggest that people try this. Not to mention, how frequently it seems that our conversations are "Seinfeld-esque in that they are engaging but not really about anything.

04 November, 2013

Day Turning to Night

I wasn't ready to fall back an hour to witness the dusk arriving that much sooner and the day turning to night earlier each day. I just was not ready.
ready or not - we have switched to "Standard" time, and I am caught unprepared for the chill the works it way into my body as soon as the sun drops below the horizon.
November arrived with glorious warm weather and a hint of rain. Today I am remembering that it also brings a feeling of sadness that I reach to describe. November seems to be the month of full change from fall to pre-winter. The trees shed their colorful attire, jewel tones leaves quickly drop and fade soon to return to earth - but not before a final dance and twirl with the winds.
November is when I begin to look inward, noting the little moments of gratitude and the lingering taste of lost potential or directions not chosen. This year, I feel pulled into November before I was ready. While I can smile and go through the motions, my thoughts circle and drift like the leaves in the wind. They drift a few more times not yet ready to alight.
November feels unsettled, because I have not yet left October.

07 October, 2013

Unexpected Gift

If someone had asked me what I would be doing during my off time from work a few months ago, I likely would have responded something about hours spent on the computer. Days spent not looking at a computer screen and flipping from data base to data base are foreign to me; and yet, now that I am not at work, I find that I am also not spending much time on my computer. In fact, I have kept to the same "at home" screen time as I enjoyed before which means that I am spending a lot of time doing other things. (This morning that included introducing myself to a long lost friend, the vacuum.)
I am also finding myself thinking more.
That sounds a bit weird as I spend my entire day thinking; I am paid to take information, analyze it, and put ideas on paper with potential implementation in their future.
But I am thinking about things I have not really thought about for years. It is as if my brain is taking it own little vacation. For hours each day I am in a state of limbo. This isn't to say that I am not doing things and taking care of things that have needed to be done for a while; but, it is to suggest that my mind is free to examine, consider, and feel in ways that have not been possible for quite a while.
Yesterday, as my daughter placed pointe shoes on rickety outdoor stage at a county festival, I found myself wondering and wanting different; asking questions that have no answers or whose answers remain unchanged.
I remind myself and my daughter not to assume an interest or a lack there of, but to be open to let people speak for themselves. Yet yesterday I found myself wondering if things have changed enough…
The reality is that there is a hope inside me that they have. That hope that goes with the idea that all things are possible and that lives somewhere in an old country song that pines for the "good ol' days" and a time and ideals that no longer exist.
I want to offer an olive branch in the hopes that it will be excepted fully realizing that this is more about my open heart over any hint or suggestion proffered that one is welcome or desired.
While my daughter is quick to assume judgement; I look for signs of welcome.
We are each mistaken in these assumptions more than we are correct.
While she is learning to give people a chance
I am working to actually see the facts as they are presented.
While Congress still controls my work schedule professionally, I am finding that I am working. I am cleaning, sorting, examining, and perhaps putting emotions and hopes to rest. I have not lived in denial (nor do I allow my daughter to live there) I have not given myself the space and time to fully come to terms with life as it currently stands; with the roles and the responsibilities; and with with the choices that I have realized are not mine and thus belong to another. The choices that are mine - I am seeing them more clearly.
I would like to go back to work, but I thank Congress for this opportunity to breathe and to allow myself to reflect and re-discover where I am today.

02 October, 2013

Losing My Sense of Humor

Tuesday I fled my office, lose strings fluttering behind me as I left. Four hours, regardless of whether you know it is coming or not, is often not enough time to get things tied nicely into bows, especially when the environment is dynamic in nature, as my work is of late.
But leave the office I did.
I left with the full realization that I had no idea when I would return, which is unsettling in its own little way.
This week the DC area is blessed with gorgeous weather. It is the kind of perfect that is leaves those in offices wishing that they could play hooky, ditch the office, and hang out on the links or just be outside.
"Think of it as a vacation" my manager told me.
I am thinking of it as a vacation and not thinking about the reality that I left things undone, that it is a vacation I didn't want and that has no end, and that while I am fortunate enough to be one that will be paid at some point, there are others who will not be paid or will have to figure out how to go without a paycheck for who knows how long.
I am not thinking about the people who came to the DC area only to find that they are unable to enjoy so much of what this area has to offer as it is closed.
I will not think about the reality that Congress is getting paid while so many upon whom we depend are not. I will work hard not to think about the feeling that I have that we are all just pawns in some political game that has little to do with running the country and taking care of the people and a lot to do with political aspirations and re-election.
Word on the street is that the government could be closed for most of October.
"What are you doing with your time?" a friend asks
"I am pacing myself," I respond. Because if I do everything in one day, there is the potential of a lot of days of not much to do and the increasing awareness that without work, the paychecks aren't the same. It is had to spend money when you don't have insight into where the money will be coming from in a matter of weeks.
My daughter and I were joking around last night as a babbled and chattered at her on our way to ballet, "I should write a letter to Congress: Dear Congress, Please let my mom go back to work. She is driving me crazy!"
It is going to take a little time for me to adjust to being at home, to reworking finances, and to embracing this temporary
way of living. My heart, however, is still at work. I am missing my job and my coworkers and the conversations. My heart is with the people
who are not getting paid; who live paycheck to paycheck not due to over spending but due to high cost of living; and with all those who will be impacted by this act of Congress - and at some point, we will each feel the affect.
For now I will clean my house and read books from the ever growing pile. I will enjoy the silence and maybe do more writing. I will spend more time with my daughter, whether she likes it or not… and I will hope that Congress decides to send us all back to work sooner than later.

27 September, 2013

Shared SHelves

This summer I started on a mission. I am reading some of the titles that fill my daughter's teen aged shelves. While this came about as a result of my buying and her reading a book that was likely, just slightly, a bit old for her - and her reading it around friends who thought "wow that looks good" before I realized that it was likely too old for her "sigh"
So now I am reading a sampling of her books.
While I started this venture in order to keep a handle on the materials ingested, I am finding that I am enjoying the books too; and, i am really enjoying our conversations about the shared titles. (I found out after I started that a friend of mine shares books with her sixteen year old daughter too - love it)
I am currently reading/listening to the Georgia Nicholson series on my way home from work. I have now listened to more of them than my daughter has read (They are quite entertaining to hear). THere are times when I find myself laughing out loud, really, at Georgia and her mates. The book is likely British teen aged humor at its finest, though I would be interested to know how well it does in England.
part of what I love about Georgia is that she is a teen aged girl. The group of girls spends time working through just what the lad meant when he said "see you later." I don't know that teen aged boys say that in the United States, but I know that teen aged girls and adult women spend time analyzing and re-analyzing what males say and what they "mean" by what they say.
As Georgia works through her relationships and discovers the things she enjoys, what turns her legs to jell-o, and those things she doesn't like about herself, I remember what it is to be a teen aged girl. I am gaining a bit of insight into my daughter who, despite my looking very closely, is nothing like Georgia. My daughter is a teen aged girl but without a lot of the drama. While we don't have conversations about her nose or not being able to find anything to wear or boring family trips that pull her away from her mates, we do discuss the growing awareness of boys and girls of one another. She has identified how "not" to treat boys and how difficult it is to talk with one that doesn't share a class. She is working through the power of eye contact and how uneasy people can be when another looks at them and truly sees them.
I am learning things I didn't know when I was her age - or maybe I am learning them because I am seeing them through adult eyes and with the advantage of a close relationship with my daughter.
The guys at work warn me about having a teen aged girl, but really, I am enjoying her perspective, her attitude, her maturity and yet her playful nature… I am learning so much from her these days and i love sharing her life.
Okay, I also love sharing her book shelf. Who really knew that young adult fiction could be this good!

21 August, 2013

Somewhere in the Quiet

There is a quiet to the mountains that I am not sure exists in other locations. While sounds rolls across the desert for miles or silence seems so complete, the mountains are the sounds of nature and wildlife.
While thunder rolls just within reach, I bury myself in a quilt and fall into thoughts accompanied by a cricket symphony with only the pines and the breeze as guest artists.
I note, but do not miss, the sounds of traffic.
Right now, surrounded by life and nature and the sounds of the world without people, I am at a loss as to why we believe that progress is making room for more cars, more lights, and less silence, space, and nature.